Friday, August 20, 2010

SOFTWARE: Menu Screens and Backgrounds

I don't own a cellular telephone, let alone use one with one of those fancy launchers that let you have all sorts of obfuscating backgrounds that make it hard to find the icon you want to hit to launch something. But I've got a Sony Clie PDA (I am an old man) and a desktop computer or two.

And I continue to be boggled by people who desire some sort of picture on their desktop, whatever the device.

Now, let me also say that I don't know what kind of interface HelixLauncher presents to users of Android phone users. Might actually be MY type of launcher. But I have my doubts. Unfortunately, for users of Android phones just now getting their taste of Android 2.2 and Froyo, the combination of those and HelixLauncher is, for the time being, an unhappy one.

Which brings me to my rant which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with HelixLauncher, Android or Froyo.

It's the background mavens I fight hard against. On my desktop machines, I use Classic (read Windows 2000) style desktops. Solid dark blue background, slightly off-white windows (who needs a spotlight in your face if you're not being subjected to interrogation) and green title bars for active windows and red title bars for inactive windows. I have NO problem getting even the rawest of computer users to figure out which windows are active and which ones aren't. Even with no prior discussion. The blue and white scheme from Microsoft? Not so much.

I have no problem finding icons on my desktop. Their are grouped according to function, just as would piles of paper on my real desk. None of this Auto-Align. None of this auto-sort. I promise I will mangle the computer of the next person who sets any of the computers I control to those idiotic setups. It's REAL easy to find icons when you have the desktop set to keep moving them around behind your back. NOT!!

On the Clie, I DO run something non-standard, XLauncher. But I run XLauncher's default minimalist screen with NO picture behind my pretty little set of icons. And I NEVER have trouble finding a program or data file to run.

Personalizing your desktop is amongst the worst things you can do to your desktop. A LOT of people like running BIG pictures of them, or loved ones, or loved things. Each of these ginormous pictures takes of resources that we ALL wish we had more of. Makes it hard to find icons, now suddenly looking like lost treasures in the middle of a forest. And, here's the maddening one … the pictures disappear all the time the person actually works on the computer because they ALL run ALL of their applications FULL-SCREEN!!!! Even little ones, they reflexively hit the maximize button, leaving the actual workings of the window in the upper left-hand quarter of the screen … if that much. It's maddening watching such lunacy.

If you want your picture of the loved ones, loved things or your self-aggrandizing mug, then get a picture for your wallet or buy one of those picture panels from Pandigital. Or, heavens forbid, get an old-fashioned print made of a real picture and stick it in a 99 cent picture frame.

Leave me and my bloody desktops alone.

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